Even if you didn’t tune in to the first three and a half hours of the Oscars ceremony, everyone in America knows what happened at the end. Some say it was the best moment, others say it was the worst. I’m not sure where I stand, but I know for sure that it was the most amazing live TV moment I’ve ever witnessed.
The Oscar for Best Picture was mistakenly awarded to “La La Land,” which entered the night with a whopping 14 nominations, tying “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for most-nominated films. As the producers were giving their acceptance speeches, commotion started occurring on stage. It turned out that the presenters were given the wrong card and subsequently announced the wrong winner – “Moonlight” had won Best Picture.
The confusion, panic, and eventual somberness on the stage on the part of the “La La Land” cast and crew was truly painful and exhilarating to watch. I thought that they handled the situation with grace, especially producer Justin Horowitz who relinquished his Oscar, saying, “I’m going to be really thrilled to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight.’”
Both “La La Land” and “Moonlight” deserved to win Best Picture. They are obviously different in pretty much every aspect. “La La Land” is a musical about the sacrifices one must make to pursue their dreams, and essentially a love letter to films and Hollywood. “Moonlight” portrayed a young African American man’s life: struggling with his sexuality, his drug addicted mother and the tumultuous environment around him. Although the moment will go down in history, it is somewhat disappointing that “Moonlight’s” spectacular cast and crew did not get to have their win recognized in the traditional sense.
The Best Picture flub is the most talked about moment of the 2017 Oscars, but there were many other highlights from the rest of the show. Host Jimmy Kimmel did an outstanding job. There were a couple of exceptions, but for the most part, his jokes and bits landed and the audience seemed as if they were truly enjoying themselves.My favorite moments were when he referenced his ongoing “feud” with Matt Damon. There were many jabs thrown throughout the night, but the funniest was a pre-recorded segment making fun of Damon’s film “We Bought A Zoo.” It can be difficult to keep a long-running joke funny, but Kimmel and Damon kept us on our toes and genuinely laughing.
A controversial gag from the ceremony was when Kimmel opened the doors to tourists, who thought they were going to see an exhibit on Oscars dresses. I’m not sure where I stand on this joke. Fans of the bit said that it was cute to see A-list celebrities mingling with vacationers from Chicago or a couple on their honeymoon. Critics said that it wasn’t fair to subject random tourists to the eyes of millions of Americans and Hollywood’s biggest stars. I think I lean more on the positive side, because Gary from Chicago, who led the pack of tourists, was so genuinely indifferent to the situation, keeping his iPhone in hand, while his fiancée squealed and took selfies with the stars. She even got away with Jennifer Aniston’s sunglasses.
The winners for the acting categories were semi-predictable. Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali all picked up statues for their incredible roles. The real competition was for Best Actor, between Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck. I was not able to watch “Fences” in time for the ceremony, but I did see “Manchester By the Sea” and Affleck’s performance was impeccable. Based on his performance I’m glad that he won the Oscar despite the controversy about past sexual harassment charges that has resurfaced since the awards season began.
One of my favorite additions to this Oscars telecast was the short video montages of winners before the major acting categories. It made the Oscars feel very symbolic and reminded the audience of the magic of the Oscars, and of the prestigious club of phenomenal films and actors that the winners join. Seeing ecstatic faces like Robin Williams reminded me of the past Oscar moments and films that I’ve fallen in love with. This year definitely provided memorable moments, especially the twist ending, that will go down in Oscars history.